‘Dr Mama’s abortion almost killed me’
ILLEGAL abortion clinics are mushrooming from every corner of the country, every day.
It’s almost impossible to walk around in any town without seeing notices on street poles or having people handing out advertising pamphlets on getting ‘fast and safe’ abortions.
These abortion clinics regularly promote being able to terminate at any stage of the pregnancy.
Young and distressed girls in desperate situations, mostly trying to prevent their unplanned pregnancy from being known to their parents, often fall into these death traps, and sometimes lose their lives at those unsterilised environments.
Nokubonga* (23) of eSikhaleni became pregnant when she was 18-years-old while doing her Grade 12.
Faced with the reality of disappointing her parents, frightened, confused and with no solutions, for her, the easy way out was through a local street abortion clinic.
‘I fell pregnant by mistake and I had no way out. I was ashamed to go to a proper clinic because they always ask questions and want to find out the whole history and sometimes contact your parents. I was not prepared for all that.
‘All I wanted was to get the baby out of me before I showed any signs of pregnancy. I was afraid my father would be disappointed and disown me.
‘While walking with a friend of mine we saw a Dr Mama’s poster on the street. It said safe, easy and pain free.
‘For weeks I saved my allowance and lunch money to raise the R400 consultation fee,’ said Nokubonga.
‘I was almost ten weeks when I visited Dr Mama in her rooms in central Empangeni and she assured me everything was fine.
‘Even though the rooms looked dodgy and had an awful adour, none of that mattered. I was prepared to go through everything.
‘A huge lady came in and gave me a small concoction before asking me to undress. Soon I was asked to spread my legs and a long tube was inserted inside me.
‘After she had done, she gave me a tablet to take when I got home. I felt normal and arrived home with no problems, took the pill and went to bed,’ she said.
According to Nokubonga, when she woke up from her nap, that’s when she started experiencing severe abdominal and pelvic pains with heavy bleeding.
‘I took some pain killers hoping I will feel better but the pain escalated.
‘The next day I couldn’t walk and was in a worse state and still bleeding.
‘I thought I was going to die and that’s when I decided to tell my mother everything. She rushed me to our family doctor then to the hospital.
‘The doctor told me the procedure had damaged me internally and the pipe inserted inside me was unsterilised, which caused complications.
‘I was so lucky I was treated for everything in time. According to the doctor if I had stayed another day without seeing him I would have lost my life or would never have been able to conceive again,’ she explained.
Nokubonga is now a second year education student who learned from her mistakes and now wishes to warn other desperate girls about backstreets abortions.
Her story might have had a happy ending, but Dr Mama’s are all over the country and preying on naïve, desperate girls looking for an easy way out.
LEGAL VS ILLEGAL
Spot an illegal abortion clinic:
• It does not operate from a clinic and has no physical address. It only has a cell phone number.
• The doctor often calls himself doctor, but has no relevant qualifications.
• It only delivers or sells pills.
• It does not examine patients or give proper check-ups
How to spot a legal abortion clinic:
It operates from a clinic with a physical address and has a landline.
• The clinic is staffed by qualified doctors and nurses often wearing uniforms.
• It is equipped to do sonars and offers medical and surgical procedures.
• When you visit the clinic they perform an examination and offer counselling before any procedure is performed. Do you want to tell your tale in our ‘My Story’ feature with the objective of raising awareness and understanding of different life experiences? Email zu[email protected]